[Discuss] Publish OSHW with CC0?

Andrew Katz Andrew.Katz at moorcrofts.com
Wed Nov 5 14:43:54 UTC 2014

HI Javier

> On 5 Nov 2014, at 14:20, Javier Serrano <Javier.Serrano at cern.ch> wrote:
> On 11/05/2014 02:30 PM, Roy Nielsen wrote:
>> Maybe it's time for a group of people to go to lawmakers to create
>> copyleft law(s) that balance out the closed nature of patent law.  Or
>> work on changing patent law to have copyleft provisions.
> If copyleft were decoupled from copyright -- and I don't have a clue of
> how difficult that would be -- copyleft advocacy would be freed from
> considerations on copyright, an uncomfortable but unavoidable travel
> companion for many. When RMS invented copyleft, it remained to be seen
> what its value for society would be. Now that it's proven, I think the
> case could become more compelling for lawmakers.

I think it would be impossible to decouple copyleft from an intellectual property right like copyright, and any attempt to do so would end up creating a new pseudo-intellectual-property right.

The headline reasoning is that, in any mechanism, there has to be some sort of compulsion on the distributor of an object to also distribute the design files. How do you determine which objects are subject to that compulsion, and which aren’t? Either you have a very narrow criterion, which is essentially what we can, to a degree, create using the patent regime (not narrow enough, but that’s another argument), or you have a very broad criterion, in which case you’re suddenly creating new classes of objects which weren’t subject to that compulsion in the first place. What happens if the recipient has no access the design files and can’t pass them on? Does that mean that the object can’t be passed on either? I’m sure that car manufacturers would love a system which gave them complete control over the used car market, and allowed them to intervene every time someone wanted to sell a used car. 

This clearly needs developing, but I’m extremely wary of the creation of any new IPRs, or pseudo-IPRs.



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